How can you increase performance this year? We’ve got a few ideas.
By Colleen Ringer
Content marketing is not a “set it and forget it” undertaking. To get the most out of it, it requires care, attention and, yes, feeding. As you look at optimizing your content marketing program this year, we have a few suggestions for getting more out of your efforts.
1. Take Stock of the Content You Have
There’s a very important item to add to your 2022 to-do list: a content audit. Even if you’ve done an audit within the last few years, it’s time for another one and, ideally, it’s something you would tackle every year.
A content audit will allow you to systematically catalog what’s been published on your site — landing pages, blog posts, news, videos, etc. — then collect and analyze the metrics. Organizing and assessing the data will help you identify things like:
- What performed best in terms of traffic and engagement. Do certain topics, authors or types of content jump out as particularly popular and effective?
- Gaps that need plugging. Do you see content holes that need filling when it comes to certain topics? Have you been neglecting any particular audience?
- Items that need updating. If some pages have high impressions but low conversions, it’s time to rework the content to make it more enticing and actionable.
2. Refresh, Reuse, Recycle
Your content audit can clue you into the items that are ripe for repurposing in the new year. In fact, updating content is one of the most efficient ways to improve your content marketing: You get more mileage out of existing material, without having to reinvent the wheel.
- After the initial run of an e-book or longer article, can you rework part of the content into a shareable infographic?
- Is it time to refresh outdated statistics, photography or calls to action?
- Reworking an article’s internal and outbound links not only provides new content but also boosts its SEO power if the previous links were outdated or nonfunctional.
3. Segment Your Audiences
Each target audience has its own unique priorities, desires and needs, and your content marketing strategy should take that into account. Use segmented communications to speak to each audience in a way that resonates with them.
- Develop a sound distribution strategy that outlines the channels you’re using and whom you’re speaking to on each one.
- Create messaging specifically for each segment and use it in audience-specific situations, including ads and emails. This ensures your communications are both consistent and nuanced across a range of audiences.
4. Prioritize Accessibility
No matter where the content you’re producing lives online, it should be accessible to all users, following the WCAG’s internationally recognized set of guidelines for digital accessibility. The guidelines, now the de facto standard for digital accessibility, use four categories of principles to organize the standards:
- Perceivable. Include alt-text for images and other non-text content, for starters, and provide captions and other alternatives for multimedia.
- Operable. Make all functionality available from a keyboard, and help users navigate and find content.
- Understandable: Ensure text is readable and understandable. Does content appear and operate in predictable ways?
- Robust: Can assistive technology reliably interpret your content?
5. Don’t Discount UX
It doesn’t matter how wonderful your organization’s content is if the user experience is terrible. Frustrated users are likely to simply close the window and look elsewhere. Substandard UX can also negatively affect everything from your SEO rankings to your paid ad results. When Google launched its page experience rankings for mobile users last year (2021), it began measuring factors such as page loading, interactivity and visual stability metrics. For organizations who are trying to improve their rankings, a poor performance in these areas could lead to lower positioning in search results.
- Performing a traffic analysis can give you a look at site data that underscores user experience, including bounce rate, average page load time and pages per session.
- If it’s been years since your website was designed, it’s time to refresh your website. Simple as that.
6. Consider Voice Search
Voice search is becoming increasingly important, thanks to the growth of smarthome devices powered by artificial intelligence, as well as the growing amount of searches done on mobile devices via talk-to-text technology. And when voice assistants reply to questions, they’re often relying on featured snippets from the top-ranked SERP results for those queries. This means that it’s increasingly important that your organization’s content marketing is equipped to answer users’ questions.
- To optimize for voice search, start with your keywords. Instead of simpler search phrases, identify longer-tail terms that mimic what would be used conversationally but not punched into a keyboard: “Where’s the closest hospital?” instead of “hospitals near me.”
- Structure key information in your content as if it’s answering a question.